Vote the Ravens: How the team got its name

The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore and Ravens go together like, well, Baltimore and Colts used to.

Although the Colts name remains near and dear to fans of a certain age, it's hard to imagine that any name but Ravens was contemplated when the new team came to Charm City from Cleveland for the 1996 season.

Long before the move became a reality, however, the name Rhinos was bandied about. It was dropped when locals pawed the ground, lowered their heads and snorted menacingly.

For the expansion Baltimore franchise, NFL Properties compiled a list of 100 names, including Bombers, Steamers, Mustangs and Railers. Cooler marketing heads prevailed.

Club executives slashed the list to 17. Focus groups reduced it to six. A telephone survey of 1,000 fans narrowed the choice to three finalists: Ravens, Marauders and Americans. A phone-in election conducted by this newspaper that attracted 33,288 voters settled the matter. With all precincts reporting, Marauders got 5,583 votes, Americans had 5,597 votes and Ravens tallied 21,108 votes.

The remaining 1,000 votes are still being contested by Al Franken and Norm Coleman.

The team name honors Edgar Allan Poe, a deeply disturbed individual who penned the poem, "The Raven," called Baltimore home for a spell and is buried not far from M&T; Bank Stadium.

On March 29, 1996, team owner Art Modell announced the name before a crowd of nearly 1,000 fans at the Inner Harbor. It was 12 years to the day after the Colts skipped town.

As a public service, we continue our crash course in Ravensology that can easily be transferred to flash cards for memorization.

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